A Circle of Chesed

ImageAt a recent meeting with the volunteers of our Chesed Committee, I suggested that one goal of the committee was to need such a committee no longer. Won’t it be great when we are a Chesed Community, and everyone’s needs are taken care of by each one of us doing our part. Until that day arrives, however, we still have a lot of work to do.  

One fact that makes me proud and yet also stymies me is why we have fifty volunteers on the Chesed Committee.  Fifty is a great number of committed people who make meals anonymously, drive people to appointments, call on the phone and visit shut-ins. Those fifty, however, are not available for every need that arises.  In a community of more than 500 families, how do we ensure that the number grows?  

Another fact that has surprised me over time is how many people hesitate to ask for help.  Many congregants have a broad and steady support network of family and friends and so do not need the support offered by the OJC Chesed Committee.  But I have found that many people simply do not want to ask for help. A willingness to ask for help completes the circle of Chesed (loving kindness): today I need your help but tomorrow I’ll be able to offer mine.  The work of loving kindness completed by the Chesed Committee is done so discreetly and compassionately.  Performing a mitzvah quietly gives a unique feeling of pride. This kindness that I do — I do simply to bring an uplift to someone else.

Perhaps you say that you’d love to help but cannot because you have a full time job and a long commute.  Perhaps you say that in a few years you’ll help when the kids are older.  Maybe you think that you have too many hard issues of your own. To each of you, I say: your life will be enriched by the good that you will do.  There are volunteer positions that range from ten minute phone calls once a week to preparing a meal for one or two – once every six weeks or so.  Some families complete their friendly visiting with kids in tow; the children learning from their parents’ modeling how to be a true mentsch.  And if you yourself are struggling, helping another is a Imagepowerful prescription for healing. 

Please consider finding out how you could become a part of the dream of the OJC as a Community of Chesed … by becoming a part of the Chesed Committee.  Get in touch with our Chesed chairs, Adele Garber (Ahg19@optonline.net) or Maddy Roimisher (845-359-4846), before you close this blog! You’ll be part of a circle of loving kindness, and who couldn’t use that in our lives?

Kol tuv, All the best, Rabbi Paula Mack Drill


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2 responses to “A Circle of Chesed”

  1. J. Scott Strauss says :

    As for me as a Deaf person, I would love to have someone to take me shopping once or twice a month. But the issue remains is my communication needs. Sadly, there are not many who can sign with me. An idea for a chesid activity would have a high school or college student learning or have learned American Sign Language to assist with me. This way it is a winning situation for both in such a way we are preforming chesid for each other.

    • rabbidrill says :

      You have some great ideas, Scott. Getting the shopping done is important, but so is the ability to communicate while choosing your groceries. We’ll pass this idea on to the Chesed Committee and see if some HS students learning ASL would like to participate in a win-win mitzvah! Rabbi Drill

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